Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Vote for my photos

I have a series of photos entered into the Billboard Magazine/PDN "Ultimate Music Moment" photo contest.

Please take a moment to vote for one of my photos, if you are so inclined:

Vote here

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bluesfest Portraits in Performance

I finally got around to popping the google metrics script into this blog, and it occurred to me that: a few more people than I thought are reading this blog, and a little more than half of them have probably never visited my Web site or seen my work.

My primary mission is to talk about the subject that I love -- fine art photography. It also occurred to me that my ongoing project where I cover the Chicago Bluesfest from the crowd is starting to go the direction of fine art photography and may interest some of you.

The Chicago Bluesfest, held annually in June, is the Superbowl of blues fests. It's also one of the few remaining free multi-stage blues festivals, and -- despite the disturbing event planning trend of more security and larger barricades (filled with photographers) pushing the audience further and further back from the stage -- there are still plenty of chances to get close and interact with the musicians. I've been shooting this venue every year from the crowd. Shooting from the crowd presents some obstacles, but working from the crowd also frees me to take my pictures (when I want, where I want, and for as long as I please) while I get a boost of energy amongst the fans. (The exception to the freedom of the crowd idea is the end of the night show at the big Petrillo bandshell, where fans are mostly 75 yards from the stage and prohibited from photographing unless they are in their seat; the music at this time of the night is also effected and has the feeling of being cold, distant, and sanitized for a large audience -- not what the blues is about, really.)

Here's a full-sized link to some of the work (btw, the work in the slideshow above is clipped by the column dimensions):

The Blues

And here's a link to some of my extras:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Magnum "In Motion": Georgian Spring

The Magnum Agency, Magnum "In Motion" series is a great idea. This is a series of slide show photo essays by some of the world's greatest photographers. I've mentioned it here before (when I linked to Bruce Gilden's work, "Bruce has a Ball").

I think the series is at it's height when a group of the agency's photographers are tasked to take on one assignment. They've done this before, with superb results. If you are looking for a recent example of this, I recommend watching the "Access to Life" series that explores Aids in the Third world through the lives of patients receiving anti-viral treatments. In fact, most photographers interested in photojournalism (or well done photography in general) should just subscribe to receive all the podcasts -- that way, you see everything as it is released.

You can subscribe via iTunes or on their Website here:, podcasts

Magnum in Motion RSS Feed

This latest assignment en masse, released as podcasts yesterday (09.09.09) sends 10 photographers to Georgia to cover Spring, after a long hibernation, and the rebirth of a small country at the crossroads between Asia and Europe.

Georgian Spring (via XML Feed w/MP4 downloads)

There is also a publication in the works, which you can preorder here:

Georgian Spring: A Magnum Journal

To me, there is more room for freedom expression and dynamic content that tells a side story relevant to the central narrative in this project than something along the lines of, say, the "Day in the Life" series that descended on a country with a comprehensive mass strike -- the photojournalistic equivalent of "shock and awe" if you will -- to result in an even, but, at most times, predictable, surface level coverage glued to a central look.

Side note -- Perhaps, this surface level journalism is the reason why I had no regrets about immediately cutting up "Day in the Life of Russia" after purchase. I needed to complete a Broadcast Journalism assignment doing Ken Burns style video pans and slow zooms. (I recall a brief moment of silence when I got it back to the dorm room, and then I dug in with the scissors.) I was awed by the nature of the work at the time (the book was fresh out enough to be faced), but I think I kind of viewed it much like little girls view their Barbie Dolls. Studies have shown that girls are quick to mutilate their barbies long before other toys, and experts tie this response to feelings about the false and unrealistic body image that the Barbies promote.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Youtube Diane Arbus Clip

"It really is totally fantastic that we look like this, and you sometimes see that very clearly in a photograph" -- Diane Arbus

The clip begins with Diane's daughter Doon talking about her mother's motivations, and ends with Diane Arbus' friend reading aloud from a lecture recorded at a class instructed by Diane Arbus.

"Rangefindergenral", I should add, is a goldmine of utube short videos on photography.

Rangefinder general