Sunday, September 28, 2008

Inspiration: Leonor Hipolito

I'm often asked who is my favorite photographer or which photographers do I look at for inspiration. I always have a difficult time answering this but not because I don't have a list of great photographers on the tip of my tongue but more because the images floating through my head at any given moment are not photographs per say but artwork which sparks my imagination.

So the best way for me to answer the question I thought would be to share my inspirations and what intrigues me so much about a specific piece.

My partner who is a metalsmith and jewelry designer is always introducing me to the work of artists in his field who share a common theme or thread with my own work.

Recently I discovered Leonor Hipolito–a Portugese artist whose pieces all reference the body although some more than others. Her series Transplants first caught my attention after seeing the pieces in the Lark publication 500 Pendents. While researching her online I found several of her jewelry pieces I was already familiar with and had seen online or in similar publications.

For me her ideas seem so simple yet the construction is exquisite, her forms imaginative and materials all the more intriguing. I desire to touch and wear them. Leonor's color choices also drew me to her work. Specifically the green in her piece In-corporation / Pin for the buttonhole . As well as the red used in Objects for Dreams / Earplugs/necklace. For me these pieces successfully reference the body and the medical world. Bright colors are mixed with silver or white. Epoxy is meshed with silver or silver paired with rubber. Again recalling the textures found in or on the body as well as in sterile medical environments.

I still know very little about Leonor but hope to learn more about this artist however most of the text is in Portuguese. I'd love to know where her interest lies, what inspires her and how she chooses her materials and forms.

At times I wish my work could simply reference the body rather than be the body itself. I find there is a limited audience for my work and I might increase that audience if the work was less shocking. For now though this is the vein I'm working in and as I mature and see new work I'm sure the work will change and evolve in to something smarter.

Friday, September 26, 2008

3 Openings 1 Location

Several exhibitions were due to open two weeks ago but had to be rescheduled due to Hurricane Ike making landfall near Houston. Three exhibitions are opening tonight at the Houston Center for Photography.

Sage Sohier's "Perfectible Worlds" opens this evening with a look at people´s private passions and obsessions.

Mike Osborne, winner of the 2008 Fellowship, will be exhibiting "On Location: Beijing".

Learning Curve 2 features the work of HCP's educational staff and their students. One of my new self-portraits, Antonia will be one view.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Brief Chat with Helen Levitt and a Few Other Things

My friend and fellow Austinite, Sybil Miller recently interviewed Helen Levitt for photo-eye magazine. The short but wonderful interview is a must read.

New York-based photographer Helen Levitt reached her 95th birthday this past August and to help celebrate we are honored to publish writer/photographer Sybil Miller's personal reflections on Levitt’s life work's followed by a rare interview. In part two, Miller provides her insight and analysis of the various editions of Levitt's landmark book A Way of Seeing and her beautiful new monograph published by powerHouse Books.

Read Part One: A Brief Chat — which includes an introduction and the recent interview.

Read Part Two: A Way of Seeing x 3 — a comparative study of some of Levitt's most well known publications, particularly the various editions of her seminal monograph A Way of Seeing.

If you just can't get enough of Helen Levitt listen to Melissa Block's interview on NPR.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

NY Arts Magazine Review

Women in Photography was recently featured in the NY Arts Magazine. I am so pleased to be part of this project and shown among more established female photographers.

There are more women working in the contemporary photography world than ever before. Their methods and subjects run the gamut of artistic possibility, but what unites them is the passion and effort they devote to creating extraordinary bodies of work. Women in Photography, a new online venue created by Amy Elkins and Cara Phillips, is a showcase of their work. It is a resource for photographers, editors, curators, gallery owners, and viewers alike to discover and enjoy the work of female artists. By mixing the work of emerging photographers with artists who have already achieved high levels of success within the fine art and commercial worlds, the project is designed to open a visual dialogue and create a venue to share work and ideas.

With Women in Photography, Elkins and Phillips hope to subvert the competitive and difficult nature of fine art and commercial photography. While they realize that not every female photographer faces or feels the same challenges, they acknowledge that the problems exist on a larger scale. The statistics are there. Despite the abundance of talented female photographers out there, the scale tips heavily in favor of male photographers in both the fine art and commercial fields. Rather than a cry for help or a stifled whimper about the art world being unfair towards women, the site is a proactive venture designed to draw attention to the multitude of talented female photographers and their unique visions.

With their recent launch in June of 2008, WIPNYC has already shown a tremendous amount of diversity and talent from both emerging and established artists. From their debut showcase of Elinor Carucci, whose intimate and diaristic photographs take a closer look at relationships to oneself and one’s family, they have gone on to show work by Sally Gall, Sarah Sudhoff, Ellen Renard, Lisa Kereszi and Naomi Harris. The choices and methods these photographers use are impressively unique, from Sarah Sudhoff’s beautiful and painful look at female reproductive cancer, to the technicolor world of Lisa Kereszi’s burlesque dancers and strip clubs, to Naomi Harris’ close up look at swinger parties around America.

Co-founders of WIPNYC, Amy Elkins and Cara Phillips will be speaking along with Elinor Carucci and Robin Schwartz at Aperture September 30th. Its an event which should not be missed.

I'd love to post about the event so if anyone who plans to attend would like to write a short review of the panel discussion please send it to me at

Sunday, September 21, 2008

New Site Launch

For those of you who don't know I recently redid my website. Well not me but a designer out of Poland actually. Michal, the designer behind Plot 29, created websites for Kathryn Parker Almanas and Caleb Charland two artists whom I had met this past year during the Santa Fe portfolio reviews. I really loved their photography work and was impressed with they way Michal designed the website to complement their work.

I had been working with several other designers and unfortunately one thing or another prevented the site from moving along or ever being finished. As soon as I started working with Michal I had mock ups of designs within a few days. Michal worked with me on redesigns and was great about offering his thoughts on certain aspects of the site. Not to mention he delivered on time. You'd think working with someone 7 hours ahead would prove difficult but I emailed him files, uploaded videos to my site and he called me often to discuss ideas.

The most difficult thing was to create a look and feel which complimented all areas of my site. Ms. Almanas's work is very similar from one project to the next and Caleb only features one photographic project at this time. I however wanted to feature all my current projects as well as one section showcasing my assignments from magazines and contract work. I feel the overall design is clean and simple enough showcasing the work without taking away from it.

So please check out the new site at Comments are welcome. You can see other designs by Michal at

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Raising Funds

I will be selling framed and unframed work to benefit my solo show happening in March. I will be selling work on my blog as well as participating in the Houston Center for Photography's Annual Print Sale November 1 along with East Austin Studio Tour November 22 and 23.

First up are three photographs from my Sorority Rush series. The image was taken from a recent show in Seattle at PCNW. Each photograph is printed at 20x24 and framed with a two inch white image border all the way around, no matte is used. The frames are custom jobs framed with plexi for safer transport. Each print is an edition of 10 for that size and sells for $700 plus shipping. Local pickup in Austin is welcome and I can deliver to Houston or San Antonio.

From left to right: Open House, Senior Portrait, First Period

If you are interested in these pieces please contact me directly. My email is

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Lots of people have called and emailed today. All my family is thankfully safe. I've contacted several friends in Houston and along the coast and it seems everyone is well enough. We are still waiting to hear from friends in Nacogdoches where I was teaching last year. While not on the coast the eye of the storm did past over.

I waited up last night until the hurricane made landfall. My mom works for the city of Houston and was activated–meaning she was up all night working at the emergency services center for Houston. I heard from her this morning at 8:30am. She was safe and said they had been busy all night and that there were some deaths reported. Not much has made the news other than flooding and power outages.

For images and video go to msn for coverage from Ike.

I'm hoping to volunteer either here in Austin, Houston or Galveston once they let people back in. It could have been so much worse than it was. I am so thankful the storm surge they predicted didn't happen nor did the winds reach over a category 2 hurricane.

Thanks so much for everyone's concerns.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hurricane Ike

Like so many others I was on the road yesterday trying to make it back from Houston to Austin before the hurricane hit. Several gas stations had run out of unleaded regular and prices were way up. It was stop and go traffic for most of the way. I can't imagine what the roads look like today with Ike projected to make landfall tonight.

My father, grandfather and one brother live in Corpus. They boarded up their homes and are sitting tight. Luckily the hurricane changed course and will be north of there. My friend John evacuated Rockport on Wednesday. He decided to store several pieces of art work from the Rockport Center for the Arts at his home a mile away from the shore since the art center is located right on the water. My mother and her husband live just north of Houston. Last I heard they were staying put. Other friends were given mandatory evacuation from Galveston and surrounding areas.

On the road I saw several lines of ambulances headed in the opposite direction as well as trucks filled with blankets for evacuees at shelters all around Texas. I'm glad to be situated further inland and hope where ever Ike lands and how ever strong the storm is most if not all residents are gone.

Austin is projected to receive high winds and I'll be keeping an eye out for tornado's.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Cornelia Hediger at KlompChing Gallery

As if I didn't hate missing art openings in New York, I'm totally depressed I can't be at Cornelia Hediger's opening tomorrow night, September 10 at KlompChing Gallery in Dumbo. My friend Darren Ching and his wife Debra opened the gallery less than a year ago and thus far they have picked some amazing photographers to debut with. I first came across Cornelia's photographs a few years ago in a catalog from the Center for Photography at Woodstock. I agree many photographers have used this technique of piecing multiple images together employing the grid to create a larger more complete whole however few if any photograph themselves. In addition Hediger infuses her photographs with an aspect of performance further drawing me in to this other world of hers and contemplating my Doppilganger.

KLOMPCHING GALLERY is pleased to announce the exhibition Doppelgänger, by the Swiss artist Cornelia Hediger. There will be a reception for the artist on September 10, from 6pm to 8pm. This is the artist’s solo gallery debut at the gallery and in New York City.

In this richly colorful series, the persona of the artist is the central figure, performing a psychological struggle with her doppelgänger — a fictional ghostly double of a living person, widely understood as sinister and a harbinger of bad luck. These striking images will amuse, challenge, intrigue and captivate the viewer.

Each image is constructed from six to nine photographs, employing a device which is increasingly prevalent in contemporary photography — that of the tableau-vivant, in which a pictorial narrative is carefully choreographed into a single image. Through the presentation of different characters, Hediger explores notions of the uncanny, the conscious / unconscious and moral ambiguity — perceptively juxtaposed with a fine-drawn level of dry humor.

Hediger’s photo assemblages present stories that are also fascinating for their obliqueness, enabling the viewer to invest some of their own narrative interpretations. Her storytelling demonstrates more than a hint of literary and psychological theory, and it is this that makes her photographs all the more compelling. These internalised depictions of illusory spaces and scenarios oblige us to draw comparisons to the work of Claude Cahun, Francesca Woodman and even Hans Bellmer.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

12 x 2

My partner Gary Schott and I recently started a new collaborative project together called 12 x 2. Each month we select one word taken from 12 words in total and create a project based on our interpretation of that word. We each selected words we liked or thought might produce interesting results.

I wouldn't say that the ultimate goal is to make masterpieces, but more of a fun creative exercise as a break between our professional pursuits.

We will be documenting and posting each month’s response at the end of the month.

August- sequential
September- ephemeral

Friday, September 5, 2008

Openings and New Project

It seems this week/weekend everyone is having an opening.

Last night Counter-Photography–Japan's Artists Today opened at Blue Star Contemporary Art Center in San Antonio. I was lucky enough to be in the area this week and was able to see a preview of the show. I fell in love with two artist's work–Hiroko Inoue's “Absence” and Tomoko Yoneda's, “topological analogy”.

Hiroko Inoue took a collection of photographs of the outside world as viewed through the windows from the inside of mental institutions. Most of the works are of iron-barred windows. She collected the images as she traveled and talked to the staff and patients of each mental institution she visited. She explained the reason for taking the photographs and persuaded them to give her permission. Her aim is not to create the typical visual world of people who live in confinement due to their sicknesses. Rather, she recomposes the scene viewed from the window – normally seen by the patients -- through her own eyes. Therefore, after the process of printing the images directly on cloths, the windows which appear on light-boxes, are not the windows viewed by the Other but are those viewed with her own eyes. Her work is similar to having a dialogue with the other’s visual world, but also contains the artist’s memory and physical nature.

Tomoko Yoneda takes photographs of the wallpaper of a room after the resident has moved out. In the empty room, she retraces the past time of the former resident. The wallpaper acts as the phase of the border in order to be led to retrace the time. Nothing specific about the former resident can actually be perceived from her photographs, such as the documentation on his/her life in the room, physical existence and thoughts. In other words, she excludes the substantial elements normally found in a person. What is important for the artist is the fact that a certain period of time had accumulated in the space. Her work tells the story that the accumulations of time had steadily been stored in different rooms, and that a room exists in parallel with other rooms, and all in a similar fashion. The viewers are led to realize that what they feel from her work is the essence of existences.

The show runs through October 19, 2008 so make sure to make your way there.

Opening tonight in Houston is Soft Head at Peel Gallery including the work of Sharon Engelstein, my partner Gary Schott and other's. Reception is from 6-9pm.

And if you are in New York don't forget about Alicia Ross's first solo show at Black and White Gallery.


And back to Texas for a must see show opening Saturday is Sean Perry's show Fairgrounds at Stephen Clark Gallery in Austin. Sean like myself splits his time between New York and Austin. I never had the pleasure of meeting Sean in Austin but we met last summer in New York outside Jen Beckmen Gallery. As a gallery goer if you are tired of seeing digitally manipulated prints, printed on inkjet paper, then this is the show for you. Sean still shoots and prints old school as we like to sometimes call it. I myself prefer to shoot film. There is something so magical about composing an image, working with polaroids and carefully managing how many shots you take. And then seeing the film developed and making the first print. I hate to miss this opening and see Sean. Fairgrounds runs through October 8, 2009.

New Project:
While all this is happening I will be working on a new photographic project in Texas. I am attending the annual Texas Neurofibromatosis Foundation camp with my youngest brother David who has NF 1. I hope to begin a new medical series on children and young adults afflicted by this life long disease and raise awareness through the project as well as feature the most amazing people you might ever meet. If you are unfamiliar with NF please follow the link or simply google the name. My brother like many NF sufferers undergoes yearly surgeries to remove tumors which increase in size and grow at the end of his nerves. David was born with hundreds of tumors and as he grows certain tumors have rapid growth and interfere with walking and daily activities. These tumors need to be removed and rehabilitation is sometimes needed. It is a life-long challenge. Together with the help of my brother, Cindy Hahn president of the Texas NF Foundation and others I hope to make a beautiful photographic series and book honoring everyone with NF and their families.