Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Every year seems to pass faster than the last and 2013 was no exception. I can't believe it's almost 2014 as I write this. 2014! It sounds like a date in a Sci-Fi film. 

My photo year has been action-packed. I've had shows in several cities. Shows are fun. Sort of. The best thing about them is they're an excuse to explore new places and meet new friends. If you're reading this and we crossed paths in 2013 over beers or photographing a grimy alley or just in passing, it was fun to meet you. And if by chance I slept on your couch or guest bed during one of my photo junkets, I am eternally grateful. Except you, Carl. Your "couch" sucks. But Stephen, Brian, Luka, George, Chris, Faulkner, Loly, Bryan, and Chamo Kim, thank you so much! Hopefully I wasn't an inconvenience. And if anyone wants to offer me a show/couch this year in, say Lagos or Tokyo or Pittsburg, or some other city I've never been, I will be there, prints in hand. 

But wait a minute, I hear you saying. That's not how it's supposed to work. You're supposed to build a career strategically, not willy-nilly. Well cancel all that. I can't pursue the standard path. Too many issues to go into here. But basically I'm like the guy whose tattoos extend above the collar. Fortune 500 jobs are forever closed to him. But not the NBA. And as for phlebotomist, well that's hard to say. I'm in the same boat. It isn't about gunning for MoMA or private collections or bigshots buying your prints or anyone giving two shits about them. At least for me it has definitely not been about those things, although I wouldn't turn them down. No, it's about flying to a new city, munching Neccos, and partying hard. And trying to find your way "home" later, shutter button blazing the entire time.

I've been through some changes online too. I became active on Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, Python, and Griswold. I took a blog sabbatical, enjoyed many stimulating interactions, and I've gradually come to terms with the fact that I can't keep up with every online development. 
After all I just turned 45. I've been writing this blog more than half my "adult" life. I'm on the verge of my dotage. The photo world is quickly changing and many things will just pass me by, and I'm ok with that. "Let it go," said my mentor many years ago. Then he snarled, "It's fucking mine." And I said, "It's all yours, Fred." Because if the NBA is his dream, who am I to stand in the way? I'm man enough to let it go.

As usual I've seen a buttload of photos this year, mostly online but also in books and on gallery walls, and spread across gorgeous centerfolds, and as loose prints laid on the kitchen table. There's an incredible crew of talented photographers working today and it's been a joy to engage with new work, and old work too. I think you know who you are. But even if you don't, like say you have amnesia or Alzheimer's or something, your photos have still been a true pleasure. It's OK, I know you won't remember. That's why I've written it down.

But of course the highlight of any photographer's year is making photos. I've made a ton, and I've even grown to like some of them. As I enter my late 40s I am slowing down a bit. I'm working at more of a marathon pace than a sprinter's. But I can still shoot any of you young whippersnappers under the table. I'm well on track toward my eventual goal to take more film photographs than anyone else alive. If I outlive Araki, Cunningham, Weber, and about 15 others, and film continues its swan song, the title should be safely mine.

Making photographs is the most important thing! If you are a photographer you already know this, or at least you should. I realize that sometimes we get sidetracked by unimportant concerns, especially online.  This blog, for example, is just a silly sideshow compared to what's really important: fast cars, bling, and the fact that Photographers Make Photographs. I know it's cliche but it's ever so vital. Not to be preachy but sometimes you've just got to Google search griffenholtz.

As always, I appreciate all B readers. I know you have many sites to choose from, and that some of them offer free cheese blintzes. And many don't disappear for 3 months with no warning. So any page views that come my way are very welcome. I wish I could promise more quality content in 2014 but honestly I have no fucking clue what the future holds, and neither do you.

The only certainty is that 2014 is upon us. It's time to put the rest of life aside and get cracking. Stop reading this. Go create shit, starting now...

With pride and affection,
Your faithful Cantrol,



Joseph Bayot said...

Happy new year B! It's a pleasure.

Unknown said...

Can't agree more that photographers make photographs. It's easy to get distracted these days when social media is involved.

Sara said...

Happy 2014 B!