Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Blues

Lately, I've been getting some interest in the blues stuff. Dig it:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Gulf Oil Environment Damage

The camera is probably most powerful as a tool to document, as this story shows. Shows some of the early effects of the leaking oil well in the gulf.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Come Full Circle

I've taken a brief break from photography, and I'm seeing a camera once again as a utility to document stuff -- like a pencil or a cardiod microphone or a computer with word installed: nothing really all that special in it's own right. I think this either means that I am finally ready to make my best work or that I should hang it up. I'll let you know.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Here, Half Blind: John Gossage Show/Insert Review on 5B4

I'm a reader of 5B4. My reaction to this review is sort of like my wife's reaction to Gossage's work.

"This was in the paper. I'm not sure what it is...maybe it's something you'd want to look at."

I'm not sure what to make of the review. In fairness, interpreting Rochester via the lens of a JR. High reading level conservative-leaning organ might be amusing to high art folks out of New York City. On a road trip, I recently read the Omaha World Herald with new, wiser eyes and now partly understand why there are so many conservatives in Nebraska and why I was often a reluctant, shoulder shrugging one (claiming disinterest in politics).

My take on the review: I think it's probably a favorable view of Gossage and a slam on my little city. (But based on the last sentence of the review, it could be the reverse.) Although, the show itself attempted to make it plain that there was a view other than a ubiquitous pre-approved republished and echoed one, so I guess the review angled to sound off on that concept.

A bold stroke is/was clearly needed to get alternative art briefly into the hands of Rochesterians. In fairness, to Rochester, the P.B., and the Rochester Art Center, that's how they approached this show. Distributing the work to all Post-Bulletin readers was a cool move. Opening night attendance amongst locals was good, as well -- although some of the crowd actually came down from the cities.

At the show, I got a chance to briefly say hi to Gossage. I was mostly curious about why he stopped photographing musicians, and his answer was that he was concerned about the toll the lifestyle would have on his health.

As for the show and work itself, my take is sort of in the middle.
The tonality of the paper printing left me curious to see the show, so I went. (I actually had the $3 fee waived compliments of McKnight, but found out that if you booked in advance locally the fee was waived anyway and think that maybe it was actually an invite to the mixer...oh well.)

Some pieces were wonderful on their own. Individually, some prints were questionable. (Particulary, I may have lost the whole set of overexposed images that were a result of a light leak in Gossage's camera, but I get and appreciate where this idea is coming from; one light leak image was beautiful and worth saving -- sorry, probably not the whole series.) Although as a collection the work built and began to take shape. How he worked with A-frame roofs and some references to sexuality and his use of trees and how he presented portraits (resting higher than the other work) became identifiable and even a little comical by the end. This is Gossage's style to present things we overlook in a way that takes shape, where we see consistent themes and ideas spread throughout the work. Personally, I go for his treatment of the Berlin wall more than for the odd fragments pieced together from the south side of Rochester, but that may be my limitation, where I thirst for dramatic content and subject matter over the mundane. Most of us do.

P.S. I guess this review is probably overdue (seeing how the show was last season), but I left the show knowing I didn't hate it but wondering whether I actually liked the work. Definately, the insert is worth saving from compost. I also saved a neighbor's copy. I'm not sure I'd shell out $500 for the autographed limited expanded edition (unless, I got a free copy as a reviewer...dream on). Some things need time to process, but the first mixed reaction is also valid.

Robert Frank's Film on the Stones on YouTube

The film was killed (probably, for a variety of reasons). Robert Frank's film showing sex and drugs and supposedly made up of fictitious events (aside from the live songs), at times is gorgeous and other times looks like the precursor to "This is Spinal Tap." (I have no doubts this film was an influence on Rob Reiner's Rockumentary.) Denied to American audiences, the Frank film is out in a collection of broken pieces on Youtube: