Monday, July 30, 2007

On West 43rd Street

On Friday I had to attend a meeting in midtown and passed the old New York Times building on 43rd, so I took this quick snapshot of workers stripping out the lower floors. I'm not sure what the next use of the building will be, but I hope it keeps some reference to the huge flags that once hung from the flagpoles.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

On the Proposed "New Rules"

Over on Actualities I have been posting about the proposed "new rules" on photography in New York.

See this post and this one also.

Epson Stylus Photo 1400 Printer

I needed a new "Super B" (13 inch by 19 inch) printer, so I bought an Epson Stylus 1400 Claria Photo Printer.

Fast, quiet, and just the right size for the space my tiny little Manhattan apartment will allow. (The Epson R2400 would have been too big.)

So far: I'm impressed. It's fast, whisper quiet, and is producing great prints. Not a bad price, either.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

In Union Square

Man runs under giant American flag, Union Square, July 27, 2007.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Photo Chick, Episode One

The Photo Chick explains how to avoid flash overexposure.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Tough Week for Volvos and Renaults

The most amazing account of a recent disaster in France is posted here.

No, not the Tour de France itself -- but the incredibly true adventures of the Reuters photographers covering the Tour....

What happened, it appears, is that while the vehicle was cruising along at about 60 kph ahead of the pack, awaiting an arrival of disks from the motorcycles, the Renault’s turbo caught fire, sending a ball of fire from the front right-hand side along the underside of the vehicle. Within seconds the car was completely engulfed in flames. Thierry Roge, driving, managed to grab his camera bag on the seat beside him and jump out. Ian, seated at our custom made desk in the back, baled out as the car slowed and immediately tried to remove as many personal bags as possible from the back door of the vehicle.

Eric Gaillards computer bag was hurled out first, Ian’s personal bag was next. But the personal bags were very big and heavy and he was only able to throw them about two meters away. Within seconds the heat was too intense to stay anywhere near the vehicle and he had to back off and as the raging fire spat large flaming pieces of burning plastic as far as the few bags he had saved. Thierry and Ian had no choice but to watch helplessly as the burning plastic sparks set their bags on fire just meters out of reach.
Warning: contains graphic images of burning 300mm F2.8 lenses.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

"Command Z" Followup: Camera Tossing

At the end of May, the "Command Z" exhibition I co-curated came quietly to an end. I was busy trying to finish a short film and to make it through my last term in school -- ever -- so I didn't get a chance to write much on the excellent work in that show.

For example, Ryan Gallagher organized an amazing online component of "camera toss" photographs. His post Camera Toss (The Blog): Command-Z Concludes... details what went into this, and has some incredible images you'll want to see....

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Why Black and White?

I'm sometimes asked why I like black and white photography. One answer may be found in the photograph above: the tuxedo was lavender.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Slowish Versus Fastish

I've been a fan of Michael David Murphy's 2point8 site for a long while. He's just posted a note about changing the focus of his site:

"The world may not need another online photo magazine, but I’m considering turning this space into something more polished and focused - a little less bloggy - a space for great streetish photography with a critical, editorial vision."
I'll keep watching and I expect he'll do a great job of it. It brings up a point I've been thinking about for a while, however: the significance of speed.

Museums are slow, with shows staying in place for months. Pure photoblogs are fastish, generally posting a photo a day. A number of fastish sites use more of a shoot-and-dump strategy, going to a party or event and posting a gallery of 20 photos or so the next day. And some sites, especially those with multiple photographers, have moved to a pace of multiple posts each day. With RSS readers and subscription sites increasing in popularity, viewers can even more-or-less keep up with the onslaught of images and the avalanche of words about images.

I'm left wondering about each format, however, and I get the sense that there may be an issue of scale here. In almost any photography class, the issue of how large a photograph should be will arise, and after some experience most people get the sense that a number of factors can "tell us" how big to print a particular image (or about other issues of presentation). Some images should be large for best effect, some small.

I think a similar thing happens with Web presentation -- not necessarily regarding size but frequency and significance.

I'm definitely a fan of images in larger units. I love single photographs, of course, but I find more significance, sophistication and interest in small portfolios or sequences of images. Yet the Web has, so far, seemed to hold a grudge against anything but the single image. While it is easy to make a Web gallery, or focus on project or portfolio presentation (Zone Zero is based on the idea), there is something about the medium that seems to push for the single impressive image. Flickr is never used for sequenced images, after all, but posting of single images (or all the images) from a shoot. Blogs are structurally set up to facilitate posting one image at a time.

One of my students presented work in book form this term, and I remembered I love that format. Because you hold a book close, an image that is physically small reads as large and detailed. Because (often) each image is given its own page, significance is granted to it. And because all the techniques of sequencing and storytelling are allowed, a well-planned photobook is generally more than the sum of its images taken alone. During my Saturday visit to ICP, just after my student showed her newly printed book (made through Shutterfly, I believe) we stumbled onto a table of similar books made by Stephen Shore. Freed from the type of pressure a traditionally-published photobook is heir to -- I'm staring at my copy of Garry Winogrand's "The Animals" and noticing it is not physically very different from these new books -- Shore's work seemed very at home in this format. I went back and forth from his "American Surfaces" book -- very carefully printed, packaged and marketed -- to these more "casual" books. I really like them as a way of working.

So how do you give the feeling of a small book to online presentation? What speed should it be?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

International Center of Photography

I met up with students from my Seriously Fun Photography course (held at Hunter College Continuing Education) for a visit to International Center of Photography. The current shows include:

Biographical Landscape:
The Photography of Stephen Shore, 1969-79

Let Your Motto Be Resistance:
African American Portraits

Amelia Earhart:
Image & Icon

Chim: Photographs by David Seymour,
Selections from George Eastman House
Well worth the trip, as always.

Above: a view of 43rd Street as ICP students conduct a photo shoot.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Easton, New Hampshire

A casual snapshot from last Sunday. (Photo by Caroline Barber.)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

July 15, 2007

New Hampshire, July 15, 2007.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Littleton Part Two

Another image from Littleton, New Hampshire, on July 13, 2007.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Littleton, New Hampshire, July 13, 2007

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

John Szarkowski, 1925-2007

The New York Times:

John Szarkowski, Curator of Photography, Dies at 81.

I met him once in Los Angeles, very briefly, when he was speaking about his show on Ansel Adams. After moving to New York, I also saw the show at MoMA on his own photographic work. I remember feeling he might walk through the gallery at any point, and that it would seem perfectly natural.

Monday, July 09, 2007


I've been awfully quiet on this blog lately, though I've been posting regularly over at Actualities. I've gotten to the end of my list of excuses and have started shooting again, however, so I'll be posting again soon.