Thursday, July 31, 2008

Super Safe #1

I wanted to introduce you to the work of two photographers whose work explores our relationships with the natural world and successfully awakens us out of this repetitive cycle of super safe work I keep seeing everywhere. I was fortunate to briefly meet Colleen Plumb and Melissa Weiss Steele at Review Santa Fe this past year.

Melissa's project titled Earthen Bodies is a series of trans-formative self-portraits allowing her to find, understand and regain herself again following the death of her husband from cancer.

I take most of the photos with the camera at arms length. I use a simple digital camera- because it is not about the camera, as much as the process and the energy and the ritual of it. Thinking about the perfect lighting would constrict the flow. The other amazing thing is the symmetry of some of the images. I don't see well without my glasses. So there I am, naked, usually not terribly warm, shooting away furiously. Some of the photos have proportions and lines that are almost unbelievable. That is the mystery and magic and gift of it all.

Collen's series Urban Nature explores the connection and in some cases disconnect between ourselves and the natural world around us. Through carefully composed images of animals or the visual representation of them I begin to wonder exactly what impact we are having on their world and how will this, in the end impact ours.

My work explores simulation, consumption, destruction, and reconstruction. It addresses the essence of our connection, as well as our fragmentation from the natural. The series looks at points of intersection with wild in the human-made world—our coexistence—and explores notions of endurance and the reality of loss.

Thank you to these two women who shared their work with me.

If you have a body of work or an on going project which is "not super safe" and you'd like to share please email submissions to Please type Super Safe in the subject line. All mediums accepted.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

On the Road Again

I am traveling all this week for work. I just finished a food shoot for Texas Monthly Magazine in San Antonio for their September issue. Tomorrow I'm headed to Houston to teach at the Houston Center for Photography. Thursday I'm giving a short artist talk on my work at the Lawndale Art Center. Friday I'm moving in to a new house and Saturday I have an opening at Gallery Lombardi back here in Austin.

Also on the exhibition front....I was awarded Honorable Mention by juror Rod Slemmons at the Photographic Center Northwest's 13th annual juried exhibition Please Ring Bell. And I have to mention because this never happens for me–my photos are front and center! Typically I'm in the hallway or back corner. I'm not sure if its due to the subject matter of some of my work however its a real treat to see my work prominently displayed. Thanks Ann.

Other winners include:

1st Sally Ketcham
2nd Victoria Veenstra
3rd Peter Prusinowski

Honorable Mentions
Rachel Papo
Evan Baden
Marie Sauvaitre

Saturday, July 26, 2008

End Game

While in Houston to teach at HCP, I made time to see the new show at the Museum of Fine Arts "End Game". It was great to see three of my favorite artists together in one show– Damien Hirst, Sam Taylor-Wood and Marc Quin. Sam Taylor-Wood's video piece A Little Death which I had seen several years before at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston was running on a large flat screen. I've enjoyed the piece every time I've had the opportunity to see it. For some it might not be the sort of thing you watch over and over–a rabbit as it disinegrates and bleeds out over a nine week period. If you haven't had the opportunity to see the short video its worth a look, if you like that sort of thing.

Sam Taylor-Wood also has a show which opens Friday August 1 at the Contemporary Arts Museum right across the street from the MFA-H. I would love to attend the opening however I will be back in Austin. I wondered though do artists like Sam Taylor-Wood, Damien Hirst and Marc Quin attend their openings anymore? When does attendance stop or slow. When you've become an international success and name I wonder? If I knew she would be there I would make sure to attend the opening or preview party.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Color Correction

Last Sunday a photograph of mine ran in the New York Times Magazine. I was surprised when I flipped to the page to see the image had been color corrected and had lost its florescent green hue. I wonder if this was an intentional correction or a unknowing mistake. Its so hard to know exactly how an image is suppose to look. We have so many versions available to us: the online version; the in print version; and then the physical photograph itself. Sometimes the reproduction of an image can vary in color, saturation and contrast drastically altering the interpretation of the photograph. While most people probably didn't look at my image of the empty gynecological exam room and think WOW that's the wrong color I did. I doubt I would have had such a strong reaction to the color correction if the photograph was just a stock image of mine. However since the image is part of a larger project about cancer, women's illnesses and the relationship we have to specific medical spaces, for me the color shift alters the original intention of the piece.

So how do I prevent this from happening in the future. Do I need to send a color proof? Should I send an email stating the image is suppose to be a little green? Or does the publication have the "right" to alter the image or the color to best suit their needs? I know when I've worked in the past as a photo editor we were very careful not to change anything about the original image. Rather than crop an image to fit a layout we might build the layout around the image or find an image that worked better. I also had to color correct and remove dust and scratches from images. This makes me wonder–Did I ever accidentally change the meaning of someones image. I never heard any complaints from when I worked at Time and Texas Monthly but does that mean it never happened?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Big Show

Please join me this Friday, July 11 from 6:30-8:30pm at the Lawndale Art Center in Houston, Texas for their annual "Big Show". Out of 407 artists 60 were chosen. The juried show required that you drop off ready-to-hang work at the art center to be judged and possibly included in the exhibition. I have three photographs from my Repository series on view–Sale, Exploratory Surgery and Clean 1.

2008 Exhibiting artists include:

John Adelman, Isela Aguirre, Dran Alessi, Ron Arena, Steven Baptiste, Johann J. Boudreaux, James Burns, Joyce Cail, Christopher Cascio, Douglas Cason, Peter Chok, Christopher Comperry, Shannon Crider, Frederique de Montblanc, Jeremy DePrez, Ben Tecumseh DeSoto, Leah DeVun, Daniel Fabian, Garland Fielder, Haden Garrett, Raul Gonzalez, Tracy Jayne Goosen, David Hardaker, Dan Havel, Daniel Heimbinder, April Hernandez, L. A. Holloman, Renate Jones, Erin Joyce, daniel-kayne, Sara Kellner, Hugh Dodd McDonnold, Linda Moore, Kia Neill, Alex Nguyen, Pam R Olson, Gay Paratore, Ryan Perry, Ole Petersen, Brian Piana, John Paul Plauché, Forrest Prince, Anne J. Regan, Allan Rodewald, Rodrigo Romero Roit, John Runnels, Cameron Sands, Louise Schlachter, Carol Ellen Scott, Gregory Scott, Robert Sennhauser, Herbert Shapiro, John Slaby, Emily Sloan, Gabriella O. Solis, Sarah Sudhoff, Kamila Szczesna, Patrick Winkler, Henry Yau, Paul Zeigler

If you happen to be on the west coast don't forget the Photographic Center Northwest's opening whcih also opens this Friday in Seattle. I also have three pieces in this exhibition but from my Sorority series. Unfortunately I will be unable to attend this opening but I'm looking forward to finding out who wins.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Two for Two

I think I can speak for most photographers and artists....that our life seems to be an uphill battle. First you have to think of an idea. Second you have to figure when and where to produce this idea or image in my case. Third you have to find the resources to take action and quite possibly get time off from work or other responsibilities. Fourth the work must be successfully shot followed by precise editing. Fifth, if you're still counting, is printing the work or uploading it to a website. Sixth getting the courage to share the new work which by this time seems old to you and has already taken up so much or your time, exhausted your funds and so forth. It seems at times the road leads no where with no end in sight. And there are days like today for me and hopefully other photographers and artists that the road, the labor intensive process of being a creative soul pays off. Not that the experience of producing work isn't fulfilling enough however gaining new recognition or recouping some of your cost is always a sought after moment.

Today I was greeted with two wonderful emails. First was from a photo editor at the New York Time Magazine who is planning to run an image of mine for an upcoming issue. I can't tell you how excited I am about this. It was just last week that I attended a lecture by Mary Virginia Swanson at HCP in Houston in which she discussed artists licensing their images for editorial purposes and the pros and cons of this decision. I had always wondered if my Repository series would find a home editorially since my other main series Sorority Rush had. I'm not sure how the NYT came across my work. Maybe it was from when I sent them my portfolios over a year ago or it might have had something to do with my second email today which was from Women in Photography. My Repository series was selected by WIP for an upcoming online solo exhibition yet I had no idea it would launch today. Needless to say it was a great surprise to see my work featured on their site. I'm not sure if one email had anything to do with the other one but somehow for one brief moment today the stars aligned for me.

So please check out the WIP online show. It is my first solo show which is very exciting. And be sure to keep an eye out for my image in the New York Times Magazine!