Sunday, April 1, 2012

Posts not written

Since going on hiatus last month I've thought about all the posts that I could've written but didn't. I'm pleased to announce that I've now collected the best of these non-posts in a short book called Posts Not Written. I'd offer it for sale but the truth is I haven't yet written it. Despite that I've chosen the cover, lifted from yet another book I didn't write.
Blog posts not written in the past month

So many things left to not write about. I don't know where I'll find the time to avoid writing them. As for when or if B will resume, you already know the answer. What does the little voice inside say? That's right, listen to the voices in your head. You should do what they say even if it doesn't quite make sense yet.

97 comments:

Anonymous said...

Welcome back.

nate parker said...

my little voice usually says: I gotta go to the bathroom, or get more beer, or "did I just make the lady angry again?"

Blake Andrews said...

My little voice says, "Waka waka waka shimmee shimmee shimmee shake down."

Anonymous said...

" "

Anonymous said...

It was a good run, but Photo blogs are an evolutionary dead end. Thanks for the good and bad times.

RealExams said...

its very nice blog post and i love your photos thanks for sharing this posting.

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh. I get it. You're fading away rather than going out with a bang.

Anonymous said...

This saddens me.

SERGEI POPOV said...

IS SAD nEWS TO ALL RUSIA. BLAKE ANDREW FAREwELL.

Blake Andrews said...

Sergei. Good to hear from you but this has never been about the Russians.

I have one last wish. Now that we're near the end, can you reveal yourself? Please do it quickly as the light is fading...

Muslin Backdrops said...

We think this is among the most important info for me. The web site style is wonderful, the articles is really great.

AKK said...

so what now? are you joining twitter and compressing everything to 140 chars?

China Plate said...

The whole site looks like and ode to Paul Grahams American Night work.
The blog was great. Thanks for the tears, laughter and good times. See you in the real world soon Blake.

matty said...

I'm still holding out hope that this may develop, ahem, into something, but if not - Thanks for a great blog, Blake, it will be missed.

Anonymous said...

Blake, it was a great ride while it lasted. hope to read you still around the interwebs, sometimes, somehow.
Thanks
dan

Phill said...

My my, hey hey
Rock and roll is here to stay...

Stay well,
Phill

Christian said...

:sad:

Stan B. said...

Nope, ain't fallin' for it...

ed g. said...

World's longest April Fool's joke.

Petar Dima said...

Hello B ... today is sunny in Bor, how is the weather in Pakistan?

Anonymous said...

Photo no loading, admin.

John Pitsakis said...

C'mon now, seriously. Been checking every day for so long. When are you coming back?

(more seriously: thanks for everything B. it's been an amazing ride and your polaroid postcard is always here, on the wall I don't still have. stay well.)

Anonymous said...

i miss b. i have even stopped reading blogs for the most part, since b was the one that usually got me started in a goog mood.

Blake Andrews said...

Yesterday walking downtown Portland with my camera, I was strangely out of synch with what I was seeing. Or maybe I was totally in synch depending on how you look at it. What happened is that I didn't see much interesting until the end of each roll. Then, just as I was rewinding the film and preparing to put a new roll in, the most amazing scenes would reveal themselves. I didn't even need to move. They were right in front of me waiting. But I couldn't shoot them because I was reloading. This happened three times in a row through 3 different rolls. It was the most bizarre thing. I couldn't figure it out and honestly it drove me a little crazy. The worst possible time to see photos is during reloading. Winogrand claimed that he never saw any photos during reloading, that they didn't even exist then. But I think that's a lie. They happen while reloading just as they can happen anytime, but until yesterday I'd never have them so consistently occur at that awful helpless moment. The timing was so fateful it felt pre-ordained and special, the way photos can sometimes. But these were anti-photos. And this is an anti-post.

K. said...

Let's start writing anti-comments then.

Photos when reloading don't exist, just as photos described in words always sound better. I guess the "could have been" will always be more attractive, but then again my imagined "B" is likely worse than the real thing.

Blake Andrews said...

I'm a basketball junkie. So this time of year my brain shuts down. I find myself watching playoff games with two teams I don't give a shit about, just because I love the game. I have a soft spot in my heart for players with unconventional shots. Joakim Noah. Matt Bonner. Shawn Marion. How does his shot go in? Every time Shawn Marion shoots it's one of those No No No No Don'tdoit-Yes, great shot moments. The ball has no business going in the hoop. How did he learn that style? Where does that come from? It's so…Personal. It gives me a little jolt of optimism to think that someone can reach the highest level of basketball while retaining their individuality. In many sports I don't see that. Most golf swings look the same to me. So do most baseball swings, and throws. Most volleyball spikes look similar. As do bowling throws. Granted, I don't really follow those sports as closely as basketball but I get the sense they're more rulebound. There's a certain way to do things and kids are trained from a young age in the "correct" method. It's the same in basketball. So the idea that a guy like Marion or Noah can throw off that teaching and just do it their own way. I fucking love that. So what about photography? There are all sorts of ways to approach it, but I get the sense that it's generally being funneled into a "correct" way. There's a certain type of photo that will get a response. Other photos probably won't. And with the increased emphasis on training and educational attainment in photography that influence will be further streamlined. Or at least that's my fear. Actually that's not the greatest fear. What I fear the most is that photo appreciation will be homogenized, that people will tend to have the same taste. Fuck homogenization till the cows come home. Homogenization is the worst word in the English language. I'm just grateful that Matt Bonner's shot is ugly. But damn if it doesn't go in the hole pretty often.

Blake Andrews said...

If anyone is wondering what's going on with the blog, I've written some thoughts about it in a recent interview with Tom Griggs, found here on Fototazo: http://www.fototazo.com/2012/05/interview-blake-andrews-part-i.html

Anyway, while I won't be making posts I've decided for the time being to continue blogging in this comments section. If anyone out there would like to be interviewed informally in this venue, please get in touch and/or comment.

Blake Andrews said...

Mother's Day Mix:

Snooks Eaglin, Mama Don't Like My Man
Desmond Dekker, Honor Your Mother and Father
Blue Sky Boys, Mommie Will My Doggie Understand
Meat Puppets, Mother American Marshmallow
Johnny Cash, Send a Picture of Mother
Ellen Mcllwaine, Never Tell Your Mother She's Out of Tune
Grant Green, Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child
Wanda Jackson, Fujiyama Mama
James Brown, Mother Popcorn
Horse Feathers, Mother's Sick
Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, Mother People
Stones, Mother's Little Helper
Merle Haggard, Mama Tried
Carriere Brothers, Hey Mom
Beatles, Your Mother Should Know
Temptations, Oh, Mother of Mine
Kinks, Some Mother's Son
PJ Harvey, I Think I'm a Mother
The Police, Mother
Bob Dylan, It's Alright Ma
Brian Eno, Mother Whale Eyeless
Staple Singers, Motherless Children

Happy Mother's day to all the moms. I love you Mom.

SERGEI POPoV said...

BLAKE ANDREW If I CANT NOT MEET YOU AT HOTDOG STANDINGON CORNER DOWNTOWNE PORTLAND OREGON USA I WIL mEAT YOU HHEER/ in COMMENT SECTION ON B BLOg WHRE YOU sTROLL READERS.
I PurchAse RUSSIA EQUIVELint of LEICA. It IS CALLED LEICAMANOV-K6 ACCEPT USA 135 inch FILM CAN EXCELLENT. IS conSIDER STATUS SYMBOL IN forMer SOVIET"
LIKE KALISHNAKOV AK-47 LEICAMANoV-K6 sTAMPED FROM STRONGEST STEEL. I AM feeL LIME GARRY WINOGRANSTEIN WITH CAMER AROUNS MY NECK.

Blake Andrews said...

The Jordan Schnitzer Museum in Eugene has had some great photo shows over the past few years. One Step Big Shot and Binh Danh's Dagguerotypes come to mind among others. But unfortunately the museum has had a series of mis-steps lately. First was the regrettable Nixon-in-China show from last winter, a photojournalistic exploration of Nixon's visit in the seventies. The photos were ok. They told a story, sort of. Unfortunately not one of them was credited with a photographer's name. Big No-No. Did they drop fully formed from outer space? From the head of Athena? You couldn't tell, and I don't think the museum really cared. The whole thing was basically a promotionally was tie-in to the Nixon-in-China opera held concurrently at the Hult Center. Anonymity is ok in the right context. But this wasn't it.

If possible, the current photo show is even worse. It's a retrospective of sports/celebrity photographer Russel Wong. Don't worry if you've never heard of him. He's not exactly in the canon. For the Schnitzer the main checklist on his resume is that he attending grad school many years ago at the adjoining U of O. He shot local athletes, then went on to build an international career as a commercial photographer working on the fringes of the cinema and political realms. The best photos in the show are a handful from his school days in the 80s, shots of athletes competing. The remainder of the room is filled out with celebrity headshots and publicity photos. Well-lit, smiling, the type of photo you'd send your agent. I'm not sure what these are doing in an art museum. Yes there is precedent for commercial pictures to crossover into art. Penn, Avedon, and Bailey among others have proven that. But Russel Wong ain't no Avedon. From what I can tell he's a competent, successful shooter. He knows his way around a camera. That description could apply to thousands of pros. It doesn't mean they belong in a museum. I'm not sure what's going on at the Schnitzer but hopefully they can turn it around for their next photo show.

ed g. said...

"But Russel Wong ain't no Avedon."

OK, so. But I don't think you can blame the museum for trying; somebody is going to be the next Avedon. So you give someoby a show and see what it looks like and what people think; and better luck next time.

But having an exhibition without crediting the photos (by presumably known photographers), that is unforgivable.

Blake Andrews said...

Can't blame the museum for trying, but in this case I don't think they were really trying. The show seems like lazy curating. Speaking of Avedon, we've really been plowing through birdfood lately. Every time we put out a new batch the songbirds just gorge. There are these small yellow ones which I can't identify. Sergei, you're the bird expert. Any idea what they are?

ed g. said...

Some kind of warbler? Does it look like one of the birds at these links?

Whatbird.com bird expert

Cornell Ornithology browser

Blake Andrews said...

Yeah, it looks sort of like all those birds. It flies around like a bird and it's yellow just like the birds in those photos. So I think we've narrowed it down to definitely some bird or other. Speaking of birds I've had The Temptations' Dream Come True stuck in my head for several days now. It's a very unusual song, as far as I know the only Temptations number modeled on a tritone (ignoring second note). Damn those tritones. There's a reason they were viewed as sinister for so long. They're just plain wrong. But in a perfect world, a world of one-four-five radio schmaltz, that wrongness can be a salve (was going to say tonic, but thankfully didn't). So now it's been stuck in my head like a birdsong, if birds sang tritones. Do any birds do that?

ed g. said...

Well, I don't know about tritones. I suppose a mockingbird would sing tritones if it heard them somewhere. They usually string together snatches of other birdsongs, you know, but this Spring I heard one that sang for ten minutes, nothing but traffic noises: truck backup beeps, electronic car locks, car alarms, police sirens... it was riveting. Speaking of which, do you have any more photos of headlights? I liked the headlights. Or photos of air-conditioners, very topical.

Blake Andrews said...

I met Frank Geary in Hong Kong. I was there for an exhibition. I was complaining to him that I was disappointed by the way the city looked. I thought it was going to be more "Bladerunner". He said to me, "you were misinformed". The other day I passed by the building he designed on 11th Ave. and 20th St. This is one of my favorite buildings in NYC. I couldn't tell if they had removed the signs that the occupants put up on the facade, to advertise their occupancy. I had done a u-turn off of the West Side Highway and from sitting in the car couldn't get the right angle to check out if this un-warranted "addition" had been left up or taken down. This building is like a big piece of beautiful sculpture and shouldn't have anybody in it anyway. At least not anybody who needs to advertise themselves.

H Hindsfield said...

The statistical implications of contemporary photographic (or neographic if you will) insinuations often describe valid constructs in analytical photographic theorem.
Mr Andrews attempts to convolute societal applications within a geothermal framework.
The result is often seen as a willy-nilly patchwork of celluloid and silver halide on vertical surfaces supported by metallic attachment devices.
To reduce the gravitational pull of socio-validity in the portrait of a genius "blogger" is to reduce every statement in the "blogosphere" to virtual verbal foul play.
Idioms and acronyms do not sufficiently describe the comment structure put forth on "B".
Put plainly, the description of "B" belies the cognitive belief that we mere mortal beings are unable to pontificate in a digital medium.

Blake Andrews said...

Hindsfield's sight is always 20/20

SERGEI POPOV said...

BLAKE AndREW> BLAKE
The YELLW BIRD IN WEST USA STATE PORTLAND IS WILSONS WARBLER SPECIES BIRD/ YOU SEE MORNINGTIME NO?

SONnE OF BITCH SOMETHING GOT ME IN THROAT. LEFT ARm GOING NUM... BLAKVe ANDREW GODbye...

Kiriakos Papachrisanthou said...

However verbally Hindsfield put it, he's kind of right

Blake Andrews said...

So in the past month I've produced 15 postcards of Eugene. I make them by combining drugstore C-prints with premade sticky postcard templates. As I wrote in a post a few months ago, they describe the city democratically, paying no attention to "photographic" representation. It's been a bit of an eye-opener trying to shoot these. It's not how I normally see. Usually I inject my point of view into the picture. With these cards I'm very careful not to, if that makes any sense.

When I first embarked on the project part of my intent (following Shore's Amarillo project) was to covertly distribute these cards in local postcard racks as a sort of prank. I was curious if mine could blend in. If they could "pass" as authentic cards. But the problem is that Eugene stores have very few postcard racks, and virtually no postcards representing the city. Oh sure there are a few cheesy art cards in various gift shops depicting romantic puddles or downtown shadows or whatnot. But those could be taken anywhere. They don't represent the city.

Even the local tourist information center, which one might expect to be ground zero for local postcards, is barren. It seems the city has no visual identity, no view of the city that says "This Is Here. This is Eugene." It's a very bland place in some ways, which is what I want to represent with my cards. But the clandestine prank will need to wait.

In the meantime I've been busy roaming the city looking for new postcard views. Looking for views that don't look like what I'd look for has proven difficult, and fascinating. I suppose it's a bit like writing a blog post that doesn't look how I'd normally write it. In the comments or something. Covertly hidden among the other comments, just to see if it can "pass".

Anonymous said...

speaking of posts not written..... who writes letters or postcards in 2012???

H. Hindsfield said...

Anonymous is an autonomous obnoxious undisputed authoritarian taste maker in full control of his senses. Sanguine maybe, sensual no.
We should listen to him.

bastinptc said...

Imagine my surprise to return to find a sub-blog. I am reminded of the header fun you had a few months back. Well done.

Blake Andrews said...

Writing a blog in the comments forum has many wonderful benefits. But unfortunately there are also a few limitations, one of which is the inability to display graphics. I've got my team of elves working on a fix but until they arrive at a solution we'll just have to rely on text.

I wanted to talk about a particular photo but since I can't display it here I'll have to describe it. The photograph is flat in general appearance. It almost looks two dimensional until viewed from the side at close range, and then one realizes that it actually has some depth, maybe 1/16th of an inch. The paper is fiber with silver emulsion embedded in the surface, yellowish-white, roughly 11" x 9" with image size roughly 9½" × 7½". When the paper is folded into a paper airplane (the Nakamura Lock to be precise) some people in uniform come running toward you screaming to stop what you're doing, that this is a damn museum, and then they put you in handcuffs and act very stern like it's the end of the world. Even if you say "Relax dude. It's for a blog post," they will continue to scream. On the back of the photo is some handwriting which says ""As you like it ‒ but this is just a pepper ‒ nothing else ‒to the impure all things ‒ are impure." And on the front is a large black and white pepper that looks vaguely sexual like two poppies embracing. Good times! And that's what I'll think of in my cell tonight. Some people in my situation might feel sorry for themselves but I like to dwell on the positive. Like for example that plane went 75 feet!

Anonymous said...

Is this the after-party for your blog?

Blake Andrews said...

After hearing about Mike Watt's On and Off Base I was really keyed up to see the book. The Minutemen are pretty integral to my aesthetic, both photographically and in a more general sense. Their ability to blend genres, to try new things, to take songs from A to B to C to D, to somehow keep every song original while maintaining a distinctive style, all appeal strongly. I can't imagine life without Double Nickels. And the corollary is I can't imagine life without Mike Watt. So a book of his photos sounded very intriguing. I was stoked to see it.

Unfortunately the photos suck (some here: http://blogs.laweekly.com/westcoastsound/2012/05/mike_watt_photography_book_on_off_bass.php). It's a bunch of nature slash bird pictures that look like what your high school cousin might shoot for a term project. I mean, a silhouetted industrial site at sunset? Really? Really, Mr. Watt? Worst of all this book seems like yet one more product calculated to capitalize on celebrity. I'm all for celebrity. Talent deserves fame. But when it comes to naked market manipulation, fuck celebrity.

Very disappointing. Or maybe not. I mean, what should I have expected? If you asked me to play bass on some record you'd get about the same thing. Inexpert dilettante crap. I've written about this before (http://blakeandrews.blogspot.com/2009/11/im-not-photographer-but-i-play-one-on.html), so no need to rehash my thoughts. Just a warning. Don't buy this book.

Mike Watt, you are a musical inspiration. Please stick to what you're good at.

Blake Andrews said...

Top 10 reasons to continue B in Comments section:

10. Purely democratic medium. Posts and comments by author and audience all given equal footing.

9. When people ask "Why did you end your blog?" you can smile knowingly and ask "Why does the raven circle three trees?" safe in the knowledge that the blog lives on but only a handful of people know, maybe 10 people in the world? So the joke is on them. Sort of.

8. New posts won't show up in RSS, Google Reader or other third-party accumulators. The only way to find them is to link and scroll.

7. New posts appear at bottom of page instead of top, just as in traditional handwritten media.

6. It's an unexpected development, yet after thinking about it a little it's exactly what you'd expect.

5. No filter. Spelling errors, curse words, and poor grammar don't matter as much. Nothing is official.

4. Number one rule of comments: You Do Not talk about comments. Please do not publicize. Let others find these on their own.

3. I forget the other three reasons. I think one was about ravens or something but can't remember how it goes. Maybe someone can suggest a reason in the comments?

Mike Watt said...

Blake, as I said in the article; I dig sunrises, not sunsets.
I just purchased a Nikon D4. You're still using film. You could only dream of owning a Nikon D4.


~ Mike

Blake Andrews said...

My mistake, Mike. Sunrise not sunset. Sorry if it seemed I came down hard on yr pix. I'm an arrogant prick with very particular tastes, so I come down hard on a lot of work...I don't see how the D4 would fit into my life. I've got enough toys already. Keep jamming econo...

John Pitsakis said...

all solid reasons above and can't think of a new one but have been dreading of the possible next step here.
new posts in random comments sections? following B as a full time job?

ed g. said...

The obvious next step is to put new posts in the comment sections of other blogs. Call it, "Where's B?"

Vladimir said...

'' I just purchased a Nikon D4. You're still using film. You could only dream of owning a Nikon D4.
~ Mike ''
Is he kiddin' ??? Man, this is arrogant. It's sad to see that ANYBODY can even think that D4 is all what photographer needs to make A PHOTO ...
and talking about '' particular tastes '', yep, they explaned to us what is photography, how te read photography etc, etc ...
and just one more thing > keep posting :)

g said...

Here's another one: you could post anonymously. Or as Sergei. Or as George LeChat. Infinite possibilities.

Blake Andrews said...

Good ideas everyone. The problem with posting in other comment sections is that such an outlet might be mistaken for 1) A comment instead of a post, or 2) An attempt to hijack another person's thread. Despite all that I've already done it. Just look around in some other comment threads online and you may find one of mine. They're scattered here and there like photo ops waiting to be shot.

I'm still trying to figure out if that was really Mike Watt who commented earlier. I sort of doubt it but half of me wants to believe it so I'm going with that half. Sometimes a leap of faith is required, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. Or non-evidence.

H Hindsfield said...

To partition all intellect in the comments of a given blog is sanctimonious at best. We see time and time again that blog popularity follows a bell curve of idiocy to its eventual and timely demise.
Attempting to portend and defend on the basis of crisis relief in the blogosphere happens to fall in the realm of the hegemony of urban feline pet care and wrangling. It makes no sense.
B has been stretched beyond its limits with outward vision completely disregarded in a spacial format.
For B to succeed beyond its natural borders and limits, it must grow into the fourth dimension. To deny this simple fact is to say an equilateral triangle has no hole for the hydrogen to enter.
This may be an invalid point in the eyes of a pointillist such as Maximilien Luce who so famously said "Give me a point and I'll give you a painting", but let be known that graphite makes an excellent point.

John Pitsakis said...

Oops, I was afraid of that. Let me make a coffee and spend the rest of the day secrey-post-in-random-comment-section hunting....

Btw, I don't find it highjacking someone else's thread or anything. Time difference should be enough.

What a masochist I am sometimes...

Blake Andrews said...

Hindsfield, I think we are soulmates. Stay tuned. I'll keep you posted when the blog enters the fourth dimension. And yes, you're completely right about the hydrogen thing, and the cats too.

Blake Andrews said...

A few weeks ago (5/10) I wrote about a strange problem I was having with my timing. Every time I changed film rolls, photographs would start to happen nearby but I would be helpless to take them because I didn't have film loaded. It was driving me crazy.

But my friend Faulkner suggested a solution which seems to be working. When I am near the end of a roll I pretend to initiate the reloading process. I get a new roll ready and start to unhitch the bottom plate as if I'm about to change rolls. But instead of following through I halt the process mid-change. I look around, and right on cue the photos start to happen. But this time I'm loaded and ready! It's amazing. I've been getting tons of great shots. I don't know why I didn't think of it earlier.

Sometimes you just gotta throw fate a headfake, then go the other way. As we used to say in gradeschool, "Burn!"

Anonymous said...

is the photo muse so easily deceived?? Good comments all... finger getting tired from scrolling...

H Hindsfield said...

It can be stated that B is nothing more than a series of electro-chemical reactions that manifest themselves in the indelible digital format. It is heavily dependent on what Mr Andrews had for sustenance the night before as well as his natural fecal movement time schedule. Did our author ingest excess spirits prior to putting his thoughts to bits and bytes? The answer to this question and others is the answer to whether B will continue into the post B era. Will B experience a rebirth or shrivel on the vine like a cheap Oregonian wine?

Blake Andrews said...

Even the lowliest, most shriveled up grape clinging to some sorry withered vine in December, yes even that grape has a purpose. Like you could use it to peg your brother in the arm to name just one example. To name your brother's arm.

H Hindsfield said...

A hamstrung pig cannot lead a horse to water, let alone make him drink. Sexual innuendos aside, the absolute truth is that if the temperature of a photograph is reduced to absolute zero it is still a photograph. If B were reduced to even half that temperature, it would cease to exist in this plane of existence. The key is to keep B at room temperature for the foreseeable future. The key is also to the pantry to the right of my refrigerator.
Having already stated the obvious I feel it is no longer my duty to provide life support for B. If B is to continue, it must continue on the sole volition of its author and creator.
In conclusion, it must be stated that 94.7% of all B readers have at least one photographic device sufficient enough to create a photograph. This undoubtedly creates a vacuum of creativity several miles northwest of Cleveland Ohio. How can we allow B to end with figures such as these?

ed g. said...

" The key is to keep B at room temperature for the foreseeable future."

Store it in a cool dry place.

Blake Andrews said...

Did you hear about the guy addicted to brake fluid? He thought he could stop any time.

Photographic variations:

Did you hear about the guy addicted to fixer? He thought he could stop bath any time.

Did you hear about the guy addicted to f/16? He thought he could stop down any time.

Did you hear about the guy addicted to taking photos? He thought he could stop time.

Did you hear about the guy addicted to taking photos? He thought he could stop any time.

Did you hear about the guy addicted to taking photos? He thought he could keep doing it forever.

christian said...

Did you hear about the guy addicted to B? He lurked the comments regularly.

H. Hindsfield said...

There was once a boy from Eugene
We wondered where he had been
Into the blog we searched
We could not find where he perched
When what a sight to see
Our intrepid author writing comments on B

JKM said...

B is the best drug I've had. I've been reading these comments since they started and loving each one of them. I just want to say thank you, B. And thanks for the postcard, I see it on my visor every day and love it.

Blake Andrews said...

So how was Santa Fe?

Theo Stroomer said...

It was my first portfolio review. The scale of everything was foreign to me. For example, the act of talking - about myself - took up big chunks of Friday and Saturday. I brought an 11x17 book of photographs and it was one of the smallest there. I don't have an MFA and I'm certain I was in the minority. On the walk downtown I passed a ton of galleries (and an amazing statue of dancing sheep).

It really did feel like speed dating the reviewers, but one thing I wasn't expecting was that the participants are all speed dating too. Many of the most interesting conversations had little to do with our own work (or came about after we'd moved past it).

In the 48-hour period since I was there I feel like I'm in the creativity zone. My brain is definitely churning out ideas at an above-average rate; for example, to photograph speed daters. I haven't seen that work, although I'm sure someone has done it. I did just find a link to the world's largest speed dating event, organized by Groupon.

Blake Andrews said...

Ryan Brubaker's Chat Roulette photo project comes to mind:

http://www.johnryanbrubaker.com/randoms/

It's a bit like ultra speed dating. Brubaker's project is done via screen-grabs but I think it might be interesting if done in person. One project I'm surprised no one has done is to attend one of these reviews and spend the 20 minutes making a nice portrait of each reviewer. I've only attended a few reviews but I've always been surprised at the general lack of cameras around. All these photographers in a room and very little shooting happening.

So which reviewers gave you the most helpful feedback?

Theo Stroomer said...

I noticed the lack of cameras too. Perhaps because so many invitees use medium and large format?

I talked to folks with an editorial background. Keith Jenkins of NPR and Alexa Dilworth from Duke's CDS were both really inspiring and had some interesting ideas for a project I am working on. Keith is a major force behind NPR's transformation into a company that uses compelling visuals along with audio, so he is a great contact.

Theo Stroomer said...

(It would take guts to use those reviews to make portraits. I feel like I'd have to be waaaaay more established)

Blake Andrews said...

Established Smablished. I'm just speaking as a potential viewer/voyeur. I would love to see good portraits of the reviewers/revoyeurs. Break down some of the mystery. Or build it up.

What surprised you the most about the reviews? I'm sure there were many things that happened more or less according to expectations. But can you think of one thing that happened that you never could have predicted going in?

Also, and only answer if you're comfortable, but what seemed to be the drug of choice in Santa Fe? Southwest plateau, I'm thinking Datura, Peyote, etc but maybe I'm way off.

g said...

Not that I'm lazy or have a short attention span or anything, but it's just too hard to scroll all the way down here. Why not move the conversation to some older, less populated post? (The one about headlights only has a couple; some don't have any.) Or you could move between them at random. Keep it interesting.

Christian said...

Once this comment section loads, you can press the [end] key on your keyboard (typically nearby [pgup] and [pgdwn] and [home]) to jump to the bottom of the page. Then use the [home] key if you want to jump back up to the top to add a comment.

Blake Andrews said...

On an Apple Keyboard CMND-Down performs the same function. In any case I don't think scrolling is a huge obstacle. Look how hard Kerouac had it, writing OTR in longhand on a huge scroll. Look at the ancient Torah scribes. We click a wheel or push a button or inch a mouse. We got it easy.

Good idea about the comments. I'll start posting random interview scraps in other places. Anyone else up for a Q & A?

Blake Andrews said...

Here's another way to see recent comments, courtesy of a helpful tip from Rod Johnson:

"On a headless Linux machine you can ssh in remotely and grab the entire site using the wget utility. If you don't have wget do a "yum install wget" or sudo apt-get install wget" depending on your distro.

From there you can read the latest comments by creating a python script using regex to find the latest comment."

I was going to add that another way is to just buy a really tall monitor. Sometimes we make things so hard, when the simple solution is right in front of us!

ed g. said...

Or you can close your browser and imagine what the latest comments would be.

Theo Stroomer said...

Nothing terribly unexpected. David Emitt Adams surprised me with his stunning wet plate collodion portraits (www.davidemittadams.com) Somebody else - you know who you are - surprised me by peeing on a wall. The drug of choice was probably alcohol or caffeine?

Theo Stroomer said...

Blake, what have YOUR experiences been at portfolio reviews? What are the trends you notice?

Christian said...

I think you could skip using python and go straight to sed and awk if you want to stick with utilities that are most likely to already exist in your linux distro. You might be able to skip regex altogether and simply tail the resulting file, although the relevant number of lines will not be fixed, depending on the size of the latest comment(s). There will be some noise in your results if you go the simple tail route.

Blake Andrews said...

I can't really speak about trends but just personal experience. I went to one portfolio review long ago in Seattle, then did PhotoLucida back when it was called PhotoAmericas, and then PhotoLucida once again a few years ago. I don't think my personality is well suited to that environment. I'm not a networker. I don't like to talk much, especially about myself or my work. I'm sort of like, "Here's the photos, have a look. If you get them you get them. If not not." And most people didn't. That passive attitude doesn't get you very far in photo reviews. And I couldn't deal at all with the informal gatherings that occur between reviews. I always felt a bit like the awkward kid at the party. All of these people seemed to be hitting it off and exchanging cards and I had a hard time approaching anyone. So my reviews were a bit like slow torture. And I spent most of the free time between reviews wandering the streets taking photos. It was my first time really exploring Seattle and I got some very good photos there.

But of course attending reviews on Peyote altered my experience considerably.

I want to switch gears. Tell me about your time with Alex Webb.

Rodderick Applebaum said...

As you know, Alex and I have been friends for a long time. In fact, our friendship dates back to the turn of the century.
Back then I was pretty naive. I didn't even carry a camera with me when I went out to take photos.
One day I was walking up 5th ave with Joel Meyerowitz and cursing myself for not carrying a camera yet again. He assured me I wasn't stupid, but in my heart I think he was just trying to console me.
We approached 57th and 5th which seemed to make Joel a bit antsy. I asked him what was wrong but all he could mutter was, "Can't talk now... must make pictures..."
I shrugged my shoulders and kept on walking. I wasn't going to stand there and watch him work.
A few hours later, after losing, and then finding my keys in Central Park, I decided to buy a "city dog" in Columbus Circle. I asked the vendor, "How much for a hot dog with mustard?" "Five bucks," he said. I cringed slightly and took out my wallet to pay. Suddenly a hand grabbed my wrist. "I've got this", said a tall mealy mouthed man to my right. I'm Alex, Alex Webb", he said.
Stuttering I exclaimed, "Who the fffudge is AAAlex Webb?"
He replied with a wink and a smile, "I'm the man that's gonna wipe the smirk off your face son." He then proceeded to pay for my hot dog and lead me over to the nearby fountain.
We sat there and talked photography until the sun set and came back up. I was surprised by how much he knew about apertures and folding tripods.
We eventually separated and went to our respective homes.
Weeks turned into months, and months into years. We have become close friends.

Theo Stroomer said...

It's funny to meet someone who you idolize. I still idolize him, but now it's with some direct knowledge of the man he is and the work that this allows him to create. The photographs have taken on some new dimensions too, which seems especially appropriate when you're talking about a master of layering.

Rebecca Norris Webb is wonderful and amazing, too. I was grateful to have a week to observe them working together. Theirs is a bond that fits very well with them as professionals. They're extremely comfortable - in my opinion anyway - putting on the hat that the other person needs.

That, to tell the truth, is what sticks with me the most. Collaboration on their level is a rare and wonderful gift for an artist.

Theo Stroomer said...

Speaking of celebrity encounters, I bumped into Joe Montana in 2010. Literally, I bumped into him. He didn't really move.

Theo Stroomer said...

(for anyone wondering, I took Alex and Rebecca Norris Webb's workshop in May. And I was employed by a ghastly event photography company that put me on the field at the University of Washington with Joe Montana and his son Nick a while back)

Blake Andrews said...

A question for either Theo or Rodderick:

What is Alex Webb's working method? Does he hang around in one spot or move a lot? Does he make himself obvious or does he try to be invisible? Do he and his wife shoot together? Any mannerisms that stand out?

John Pitsakis said...

Interesting to hear your experiences in reviews Blake and Theo. I've only had two myself and with hindsight I wonder what I was doing there, what did I have to show? But they both went along Blake's pattern, felt like a alien and had no cards or smart opinions to give away.
Coincidentally one was with the Webbs, wonderful people and sweetly aloof.

Have you ever been on the other side of the table any of you? Ever been the reviewer?

Rodderick Applebaum said...

As far as workshops and portfolio reviews go I will defer to Emerson's essay on self reliance.

"Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life's cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another, you have only an extemporaneous, half possession. That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him. No man yet knows what it is, nor can, till that person has exhibited it. Where is the master who could have taught Shakspeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon, or Newton? Every great man is a unique. The Scipionism of Scipio is precisely that part he could not borrow. Shakspeare will never be made by the study of Shakspeare. Do that which is assigned you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much. There is at this moment for you an utterance brave and grand as that of the colossal chisel of Phidias, or trowel of the Egyptians, or the pen of Moses, or Dante, but different from all these. Not possibly will the soul all rich, all eloquent, with thousand-cloven tongue, deign to repeat itself; but if you can hear what these patriarchs say, surely you can reply to them in the same pitch of voice; for the ear and the tongue are two organs of one nature. Abide in the simple and noble regions of thy life, obey thy heart, and thou shalt reproduce the Foreworld again."

I think this about sums it up.

Anonymous said...

some anonymous (yes biased and sanctimonious) thoughts on portfolio reviews ....

I think of them as a bell curve.... prob mostly satisfying to the majority that attend because they're seeking feedback from gallery, museum, and publishing concerns in hopes of advancing their fame and fortune or at least recognition. At the front end of the curve are those that just want to express themselves with self-satisfying images (that they hope will satisfy others), and the tail end of the curve are those that either are true exceptional artists that success as such is a given or those that are mediocre image makers but can convince the powers that be otherwise.

Blake Andrews said...

Thank God for Cell Free Lions

Theo Stroomer said...

I don't think that Alex and Rebecca photograph together. Sometimes they're in the same place; for example, Rebecca described making this photograph while Alex was in the car.

Alex is contemplative and quiet, traits I would expect based on what I see in photographs.

I was thinking about this at RSF. There are varying degrees of the photographic self in each person's photography. I think the majority of photographers have personalities that are intensely tied to their pictures, but not everyone fits the mold. They are an interesting photographic minority (at least in my opinion).

I felt this way about meeting Jordan Baumgarten; in person, he was bitingly funny. I see other qualities in his photographs.

Blake Andrews said...

Well in some sense every photograph is a self portrait. Even the most mundane, objective vista. A Chevron sign on La Brea and Beverly, for example. It's as revealing a self portrait as the most penetrating visage in the mirror.

Maybe the more interesting photographs are the ones which defy that tie. Google Street View or Evidence.

I think that's what M R Sin was talking about in Cell Free Lions.

So what did you learn from the Webb workshop? Name one take home lesson.

Theo Stroomer said...

The first thought in my head: dedication. Rebecca and Alex are amazingly invested in every step of the process of making books with their photographs.

Yes, the photographic voice always comes through. But with things like Google Street View I think it's coming through purely through curation instead of the act of photographing AND selecting for presentation.

I want to stick on this point though. There are degrees of inserting the self in a photograph. Right?

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Blake Andrews said...

A good example of a moment happening while changing rolls:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/forty-years-after-napalm-girl-picture-a-photographer-reflects-on-the-moment-that-might-have-been-his/2012/06/13/gJQAfoToeV_story.html

He should've gone for the fake change. Could've made history.